10 Commandments marker in Starke draws protests

Privately-funded monument authorized by Bradford County Commission

A 10 commandments monument was unveiled outside the Bradford County Courthousein Starke during the National Day of Prayer. (Madison Street Baptist Church image)

STARKE, Fla. – A religious marker dedicated outside the Bradford County Courthouse two weeks ago will be the target of protest on Saturday.

The granite monument of the Ten Commandments was donated by the local Community Men's Fellowship and approved to be placed in the courthouse's courtyard by the county commission. The monument was unveiled May 3 during the National Day of Prayer ceremony in Starke.

"When I found out they were putting this up, it was every bit as shocking as a Hindu statue here or a giant Buddha out here or a giant Koran," said Daniel Cooney,  an atheist planning to protest Saturday.

An atheist group has announced plans to protest at the site from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and Channel 4 was told supporters of the monument will be there as well.

"I will not stay home. I will be here tomorrow and I will be praying for these people who protest," said Martha Nettles, a supporter of the monument.

"Atheists don't believe there is a god. So if you don't believe there's a god, why does it matter? I'm a Christian, and I'll be here tomorrow, and I think it should stay," said Angel Mobley.

"Though I don't believe in any deities, I do believe in this country. I don't believe we should be pressured into religious persecution or any set of beliefs," added Cooney.

Channel 4 plans to have a crew in Starke for the event.